Informal and Formal Trail Monitoring Protocols and Baseline Conditions

Acadia National Park

This research developed and applied state-of-the-art trail condition assessment and monitoring procedures and applied them to the park’s formal and informal (visitor-created) trails.

by U.S. Geological Survey

At Acadia National Park, changing visitor use levels and patterns have contributed to an increasing degree of visitor use impacts to natural and cultural resources. To better understand the extent and severity of these resource impacts and identify effective management techniques, the park sponsored this research to develop monitoring protocols, collect baseline data, and identify suggestions for management strategies. The park has adopted the NPS Visitor Experience and Resource Protection (VERP) carrying capacity framework to guide these studies.

Attached document published May 2011

About the Author


Created by an act of Congress in 1879, the U.S. Geological Survey has evolved over the ensuing 125 years, matching its talent and knowledge to the progress of science and technology. The USGS is the sole science agency for the Department of the Interior. It is sought out by thousands of partners and customers for its natural science expertise and its vast earth and biological data holdings.

More articles by this author

More articles in this category

Winter Recreation Planning

posted Nov 14, 2023

These case studies reveal a number of lessons learned that will be valuable in future winter travel management planning efforts.

TRAILS SAFE PASSING PLAN: STOP, SPEAK, and STAND BACK

posted Feb 14, 2023

Horses are prey animals and naturally can be afraid of unfamiliar people and objects. Horses have natural "flight“ survival instincts and prefer to move their feet towards an exit route. Therefore, people with horses should pass at a walk while other trail users remain STOPPED until passed.

ORV – Social & Management Issues

posted Jul 15, 2022

Off-road vehicles can have a substantial impact on the experience of other non-motorized visitors on trails that are shared or even on adjacent forest or park settings.

Research for the Development of Best Management Practices to Minimize Horse Trail Impacts on the Hoosier National Forest

posted Jul 15, 2022

This research investigates horse trail impacts to gain an improved understanding of the relationship between various levels of horse use, horse trail management alternatives, and subsequent horse trail degradation.

444 views • posted 07/15/2022